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More than 75 percent of employees who quit could have been retained by their employers. Tat’s a primary fnding from the Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report, a study based on data from over 233,000 employees in the United States.

And the primary point, for the purposes of this chapter, is that the manager has enormous infuence on a stafer’s decision to stay or leave. Te odds of deciding to leave decrease by 31 percent for every 1-point
increase in the core driver ratings for supervisor, according to the study. Failure to retain stafers is also costly. Te cost of replacing an indi-vidual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary, the Gallup company recently estimated.

For most of 2020 and spilling into 2021, the coronavirus pan-demic upended labor markets. But before COVID hit, many labor markets were tight. In the United States, the U.S. Labor Department announced that in 2018, for the frst time on record, jobs outnum-bered job seekers. Such labor shortage conditions could return to many countries fairly quickly, giving many employees several alterna-tive job options if they are interested in leaving.

Employees leave for various reasons. According to the Retention Report, the three top specifc reasons for employees to leave jobs in 2019 were career development, work-life balance, and manager behavior. All three reasons fall under one broad umbrella of why employees leave companies: their employer is not meeting their expectations and needs.

As a manager, you can strengthen your retention eforts and retain more stafers by focusing more on the needs and expectations of team members. Best practice guidance on how to do this follows.

Onboarding Process Crucial

Successful retention eforts start on day one. For new stafers, this makes the onboarding process crucial – indeed, it sometimes serves as predictor as to whether the employee will be short term or long term.
Most team members want to feel a connection to their jobs, to their colleagues, and to their organizations. Trough productive onboard-ing, the beginnings of those connections can be established early in the stafer’s tenure.

As a manager, there are three goals to strive for during onboarding: the new stafer will learn what makes the company unique, will learn the mission and values of the company, and will learn how his or her job helps fulfll the mission of the organization.

To help accomplish this, make sure that the onboarding process is a two-way one. You should communicate the organization’s accom-plishments and story to new employees, but also focus on the new team member by communicating how his or her skill sets and work accomplishments will help the frm.

Tis latter focus on the new employee is crucial, and it is where many organizations fail. Companies may be adept at telling their own story, but a sole focus on the organization can leave the new employee
feeling left out. Tis can be an especially costly mistake with Millennials; work-place specialists say members of that generation want to be recog-nized. To avoid this mistake, make time early in the onboarding process to sit down with new employees to discuss their background and previous experiences, and how those may ft in to their current job and the organization’s mission. Facilitating these early connec-tions to the larger good helps ensure that the team member knows that their work matters.

To take this practice even further, as a manager you may also sit down with a new stafer and draft a sample career path, based on the employee’s future goals. You can supplement this career path exercise
by relating examples of former employees who held the same position as the new employee and went on to have a successful career.

It also helps to give new team members meaningful work as early as possible, which shows trust in their abilities and engages them from the start. And instead of relying on organizational charts to explain
workfow and reporting structures, it helps to explain the unwritten rules and process quirks regarding how things work.

In addition, try to ensure that other onboarding practices are not inadvertently working against retention eforts. In some organiza-tions, orientation sessions can devolve into hours of company policy and beneft information discussed in excruciating detail. Besides being boring, this can make the new workplace seem impersonal, and make the new employee feel like a cog in a giant wheel. Instead, use online or printed materials to communicate granular policy details, and focus on overviews during in-person meetings.

Finally, do not assume that what worked for you when you were hired will work for all new employees. Some new employees prefer a more hands-of “sink-or-swim” onboarding approach, while others like to be more actively guided, so discuss this with the new stafer and then tailor your approach appropriately.


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